(Updated 16 December 2015)

It is readily possible to slash your solar costs for stand alone and grid-connect systems. Doing so is also easy but no installer is likely to explain how  to slash your solar costs. Savings can be huge with no loss of amenities by making minor progressive and minor changes that slash your solar costs.

Here is an actual example of what was achieved and how it was done.

Following moving from our self-built all-solar house outside Broome, north-western Australia (see All Solar House) we bought a house in Church Point (Sydney) overlooking Pittwater.

Whilst being an environmentally built house (of 360 square metres) the previous electricity usage exceeded 30 kWh/day. We tracked down over 4 kWh/day in phantom loads [i.e. power continuously drawn by many electrical appliances when turned off only at the remote control – most houses have 25-50 of these] including a door chime’s power supply that drew 336 kilowatt hours a year. We replaced that by a manually run bell. There was also an instant boiling/chilled water unit that drew over 2.0 kilowatt hours a day. As that was used less than once a day to make coffee – we replaced it with a $50 heater jug (and sold the boil/freeze unit for $750. You can slash your solar costs like this too.

The house had over seventy 35 watt halogen lights, plus walls lit up by ten spot lights – each drawing 150 watts. We temporarily replaced the halogens by compact fluorescents and then by 5-8 watt Cree LEDS. Despite adding external outside lighting both front and rear within a few weeks we had power usage down to 7.1 kWh/day in winter and 6.0 kWh/day in summer. It is now (February 2015) 6.1 kWh/day in winter and under 4.0 kWh/day in summer.

Prior to that work, adding grid-connect solar to cover about 80% of then usage would have needed a 10-15 kW system (in 2011 costing about $45,000). We achieved that 80% target via a 2.4 kW system costing about $9000 – and spent less than $2000 on changes.

Solar on roof Church Point1  Minor changes to save major cost. This 2.4 kW grid-connect system supplies 80% of winter usage (plus 100% plus the rest of the year) for our large three-story Sydney house.

The above is described in detail in my book Solar Success (for home and property solar systems). So too are five other examples of systems – from a small cabin to a large property of totally achievable results.

Solar Success covers all you need to know about designing, installing and using solar – both stand-alone and grid-connect. It even includes ponds and swimming pools. It costs A$42.50 plus postage – and is virtually guaranteed to save you multiple times that price (the record so far was one of A$50,000). My book Solar That Really Works does likewise for boats, small cabins, camper trailers, caravans and motor homes. 

If you found this article of value – so will you of our books.